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Monday, April 29, 2013

Just an Oridinary Week

When was the last time I said that?  LOL!  This week should be an ordinary week of school and general house stuff.  I say that, and then we couldn't get onto FLVS first thing this morning.  So, me being me, I printed DJ out some Algebra worksheets from other websites.  He was so happy, not.  I studied all weekend to relearn Algebra and the way that they teach it now.  I have made a lot of progress, and was able to help DJ understand his Math better today.  I think he got a really decent grade on the assessment today, when it was finally up and working again.  Caitlin is on day 7 of English 3 at Easy Peasy Homeschool.  She is really liking it, so maybe Head of the Class going down was not a bad thing.  I do think they could have let us print out our report cards to date, but oh well I keep track of everything anyways.  It is a lot of poetry on, EP, which I am not crazy about, but she is really liking it and that is all that matters.  This week I will share my ultra favorite websites and apps that I have found for learning and practicing Algebra. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Devil's Mill Hopper Field Trip

On Wednesday we went on a field trip to Devil's Mill Hopper State Park. What a beautiful place, peaceful and quiet. The main attraction of this particular park is the 120 foot sink hole that you can walk down, and of course back out. There are stairs, thank goodness. There was a small waterfall, that when it rains is engorged with water. There were not hardly any bugs, and the weather was just splendid. Be sure to read the sign below that explains the strange name of this park. I will be posting some info on sinkholes in the future, and DJ will be doing his 4H presentation next year on sinkholes. Now that we have about six weeks of school left, I start to prepare to make our portfolios and end of year testing. I am considering buying an online standardized test for DJ this year, and I have not yet decided for Caitlin yet. DJ is having a horrible time understanding some of this new math. I must admit it is rather confusing, and I was very good with Math in school, always an A student. Anyway, since he has completed most of his other lessons, Math will be our major focus over the next six weeks, and over the summer. The last thing I want to get behind on is Math. I have not decided if I will test Caitlin this year, but right now I am leaning towards no. I did do a Reading assessment for her today, and she is well above third grade level. I am sure her Math would be at level, but her writing would be way below. So, yes you guessed it, she will be working on Writing a lot the next six weeks and over the Summer. Do your kids have week areas in school? Do you try to be aggressive to help them learn it better? Oh, by the way, the stairs on the way up were brutal.  It is equivalent to about six flights of stairs, or so.  My heart can handle it, but my poor muscles were screaming.  Even though I have been exercising regularly, my legs are still way weaker than I want them to be.  I blame this on the fact, I have mentioned this before, that I am pretty sure I have MS.  I was proud of myself for even attempting it, and very relieved I didn't just fall down and not go further. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Earth Kids at Manatee Springs

The springs are finally clear, though there is still water where it shouldn't be, we could see into the water nicely this time. This was our last trip to the springs, at least for now. The gnats were out, though not too bad, and one child was found with a tick on her. Our next Earth Kids meeting we will be making terrariums, and I want to tube down the Rainbow River one of these meetings. So many fun things to do. We got to see a manatee again, which was nice, because the last time we saw one our whole group was not there so some didn't see it. Manatees can be seen in various zoos here, but it is so nice to see them in their natural habitat. This one was young, and no one was for certain why it was even in the springs this late in the year. Usually they only come in the winter months. Anyway, it was moving really fast, and did not appear to be injured in any way. We were glad it was there. The weather was beautiful, the water was calm and all in all a great nature walk.We did see two deer, and they came close enough that Caitlin almost fed it some grass out of her hand. She was just a little excited, lol! Today we are off to Devil's Mill hopper. I will share that experience tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Easy Peasy Homeschool

Well so far this week, which was supposed to be somewhat quiet and relaxing, has turned quite stressful.  DJ started FLVS Math last week, and to say he is stressed is an understatement.  It is very hard, harder than when I went to school.  However, this week, after speaking to the teacher on the phone, and doing a lot of studying and practice, I think he is getting it.  And I am remembering everything I forgot from Math class.  Tomorrow he has the end of the first module test, so we will see how it goes.  He is allowed to use his notes that he took, but that is it, no other assistance.  I am praying it goes well.  If you are on the edge of wondering if you should try FLVS, the teachers really are awesome, and it frees me up a lot of time to extra and harder work with my third grader.  He only does two classes with them at any time, with a third elective of his choice.  I add all his other lessons into his day and so far this is working well for him. 

Caitlin has been using, the Head of the Class for three years.  Last week I noticed it was not loading.  She was 85% complete with the third grade curriculum.  Monday there was a message from them stating they have no more funding and the website will be shut down for good.  Thanks, now I have to figure out what to do with her the remainder of the year.  Granted it was not a complete curriculum, but for her age it was pretty close.  So, I had saved a website called Easy Peasy Homeschool, with intentions of trying it next year.  It is a complete curriculum, but for now Caitlin is only doing 3rd grade English and Reading, because that is what I need.  So far we both love it, and it is a wonderful site, and free.  Check it out if you need a curriculum, and it goes all the way to high school, you can always switch if you don't like it.  I am so glad I am always looking and saving websites just for this reason.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Tree Art!

Caitlin and I were moving the bird feeder this morning, when we noticed this face embedded into the tree. I don't know how it got there or even what it is made from, it looks like hardened oil or coal. LOL! It was cool though and we took a shot of it. We will be monitoring it to see if it changes in any way over the weeks to come. Do your trees grow spontaneous faces?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Park Day!

We have not had a park day in a while, but today we did.  It was beautiful weather, though a bit warm in the sun.  Thank goodness for shade.  First we did our Run/Walk group.  I ran the other day on Monday some, and I was paying for it.  I am almost 44 and my body was revolting.  I think I better remember to stretch if I am going to run rather than walk.  Wow!  After we went to the park, where we meant a new member to our little group, and they were very nice.  We did not traditional school lessons today, but tomorrow we are back to the grind.  I hope the weather is getting lovely for all my cold weather friends.  I am working on a field trip to a place called Millhopper, and a butterfly farm I believe for May. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Coming Around the Bend and Heading for Home~!

Our school year is almost over, already!  It seems like we just started.  We have had so much fun and learned so much.  Plus new friends, new groups, new adventures.  I love new, but old is awesome too!  Don't ever forget that.

God was really watching out for us today.  I know I don't push God or God issues, but God has blessed us in so many ways it is nice to publicly thank him.  We, like most homeschoolers live on a very fixed budget, and I mean fixed.  DJ has needed a new bed for some time, mostly his fault, but still and Caitlin needed a new mattress.  As you know these things don't come cheap unless you get garbage.  I am not a Fred Sanford type, buy my daughter is. She always has her eyes out for something.  I think she inherited from my mom.  Today, she came in the room and said Mom there is a free couch across the street.  I was just looking at new couches the other day.  Ours we got from Aarons for 15 dollars, and it has served us well.  But, when the dog was a puppy she ate one of the cushions and there is a huge tear in the back, that is why it was only 15 bucks.  I thought, well I don't generally take furniture off the side of the road, but we know these neighbors and they are very clean.  I told my husband to just look at it on his way to the bank.  He called me and said it looks good.  So, we got it!  The old junky one is now gone and believe it or not this is a nice couch, they just needed to get rid of it.  So, the gentleman came across to ask if we needed help and while talking asked if we needed a full bed.  It is like new and was just a spare bed that must go.  We looked at it and took it, with brand new mattress and box springs too.  It was a blessing kind of a day, but if you are not a pessimist most days are full of blessings you just need to notice them.  That is a huge weight off my shoulders and now I can focus on other things that need repairing.  Thank you, God for answering my prayers.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Nature Scavenger Hunt #3

This is our third Earth Kids Scavenger Hunt. We have one more in three weeks, then we will be moving on to other projects. The bugs will be good and ready to bite by then. Since the springs are still flooded, I am sure the mosquitoes are having a field day lying eggs. We didn't see any, but then again I don't know what they look like. It was a beautiful, warm sunny afternoon. We had a good turnout for this meeting, and the kids had a blast. They had quite a long list of items to find. They found most of them, and a few we didn't expect to find. No Pileated Woodpeckers or White Tail Deer. Unlike Manatee Springs, where the deer come right up to the springs basically, Fanning Springs they stay in the more wooded area and trails. I have never actually seen any there the times I have been there. As you can see in the photos the water is dark and murky, so we could not see any manatee either. We did see a lot of baby fish, teeny weeny baby turtles, and a couple of medium sized turtles. The springs, when they are not flooded, are so beautiful and you can see right to the bottom of the water. Maybe for the next one they will be cleared up.  The kids had to get pictures of all the items on their list. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter, Archery Tournament and Spring

I hope everyone had a blessed Easter! Is it finally getting Spring like wherever you are? Dec, Jan and Feb were quite warm, even had to use the air conditioner over the Winter months. So strange! But March was freezing most of the month. Now it is April and I am hoping for warmer temps. Caitlin got a Hyacinth plant for Easter. It has the sweetest smell. Caitlin also did most of the egg decorating herself this year. We hard boiled the eggs and set up all the dye stuff, then she just went at it with supervision of course. You can see her work below. Don't mind my art table. Speaking of Art I am painting later today, and will be working on Mother's Day gifts. It will be here before you know it. On Saturday, DJ and Craig had their end of beginner class Archery Tournament. I have to say it was kind of boring for me and Caitlin. They both did awesome though and want to move on to the intermediate classes. They won't be able to take them together, and that might pose a problem for transportation. I am hoping to find a 4H Archery Group local to us, and that would help a lot. They took their beginner class at Easton Newberry Sport Complex, in Newberry. We have a very busy this week, including Earth Kids tomorrow, and a Bee Farm field trip on Thursday. We have been in a rainy pattern, so we will see about both of those. Have a great week! I will share the Nature Scavenger Hunt DJ put together, this week.

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